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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Emily Shur's Blog, Polaroid & Other Film

My dear friend Emily Shur has joined the blogging-world!

Emily is an accomplished and respected photographer and I am very excited about her blog. Her second entry - "Where Do I Go From Here?" -is about Polaroid's recent decision to no longer manufacture Instant Film. A true heartbreak for photographers like Emily and I.

Where's Emily? (Polaroid Collage) © Nina Buesing

Photography has at last become a firmly established discipline in the art world, while commercial photography -- in my opinion-- has become less and less interesting. Of course there are still people who do great work and who put heart into their (commercial) work, but these are the exceptions. I do think, like Emily points out on her blog so wisely, that it has to do with the technological developments -- note I am not calling them advances ;) --of the medium. Of course some parts of the digital workflow are much better for the environment, and I would not like to go back to the days before Photoshop, but I really think that the combination of digital and analog is best .
I never thought I would see the day when film would no longer be available at all, and I took comfort knowing that at least in some of my work I would for the rest of my life be able to incorporate film, but I am no longer so sure about that. Maybe the day when film is no longer available is not so far away.
Next thing you know I will regress further and make my own glass plates. I already have a cyanotype kit at home (Maria is the one who inspired me to go back to that old technique that I learned in art school-- the same Maria who is currently printing true c-prints for her next solo show!).
But it is not only a question of preference; it is also a question of means. You can buy a used Hasselblad, with outstanding optics, that is so genius in design that it will last you a lifetime (if they continue to manufacture 120 film!) for less than 3K, while a new digital Hasselblad's equivalent will run you at least 35 K -- and it probably won't last you a lifetime. And while a mechanical Hasselblad went to the moon and most places on earth, I am not sure how well the digital Hasselblad would perform in the sub-artic circle (magnetic interference, extreme cold) or for how long it would work if you kept it in your house on the Caribbean sea in Belize (extreme humidity, salt).

Emily is right, I think if you have an opinion on this you need to express it and I also think you should forward it to Kodak, Fuji and Ilford -- let them know that you love their products and how much you appreciate having a choice.

Here is some contact information for those companies:

Kodak: email:audrey.jonckheer@kodak.com or click here.

Click here for Fuji or write to them here via snail mail: Fuji Photo Film USA, Inc. P.O. Box 7828 Edison, NJ 08818-7828 Attn: Customer Care Dept.

Ilford you can reach via this email at: USInfo@Ilford.com or write to them via snail mail here: 1350 Main St Springfield, MA 01103 USA

In the meantime head over to Emily's blog: emilyshur.blogspot.com ; add it to your RSS feed and enjoy some Polaroids she took in Hong Kong very recently.


mariamotorina said...

thanks for talking about this Nina! and for posting the contact information of Kodak, Fugi and Ilford. We should all petition them to keep making the films, etc that we need to make out art work. Artists are such a small percentage of the photography community that we need to be very vocal to be heard. I know that I would seriously need to think about continuing to make fine art photography if film was no longer available.

Hank said...

good one nino!

Anonymous said...

i like your polaroid collage. i found me :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe you guys should petition the NEA or someone to subsidize film production, because the film cos. are just that.....film cos. If its not worth making the film they won't.

nina said...

yes, of course it is a market issue. Agreed. However fine art oil paints survived too and like Emily I am willing to pay more if it allows be too keep working the way I would like to work.

Anonymous said...

I dropped my Hasselblad from 10ft high and the only thing that was damaged was the viewfinder. It's a workhorse, that thing. Try dropping a 5D from that high. *shudder*

I went into Wolf camera yesterday to pick up a roll of 120. They didn't have any. Neither did any Wolf cameras within 100 miles. I was overwhelm with a sense of sadness. But money is really all that matters.

nina said...

Jonis: could not agree with you more!

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